In Russia and Ukraine the prospective surrogates have been screened and had initial medical clearance before they are matched with Intended Parents so you can expect to have an embryo transfer within 2 months after completing your documentation. Greece will, on average, take a little longer because you must obtain Court approval before an embryo transfer occurs however some preparation of the surrogate can occur after the Application to the Court has been made. In USA you can expect to have an embryo transfer (usually fresh) 5 – 6 months after you commence in the program. You will need to be patient throughout the process but it is completely understandable that you will be constantly eager for more information – your baby and the surrogate mum are thousands of kilometres away and the different time zones mean that often you are anxiously awaiting an email.
The detailed process varies across countries and across clinics so we will discuss the detail with you once you decide upon a country. Across all programs, in the event you need to undergo additional cycles then each cycle will add a further 1 – 3 months to the journey depending on whether it is just a surrogate cycle or another egg donor cycle. You must appreciate that in IVF the timing is driven by the woman’s menstrual cycle and although this is influenced by medication every woman still has a particular biological clock that determines the timing of embryo transfers. This is the first major milestone about which most of our clients become anxious. We understand that and it is a period when we support you and try to allay your concerns.
The surrogacy process always involves the selection of optimum gametes and the scheduling of embryo transfer at a time the surrogate mother’s womb is most conducive to a pregnancy. The health of the surrogate mother and a successful healthy pregnancy are the primary objectives of all involved. The selection of a healthy young woman as an egg donor, the selection of individual sperm, clinical assistance with the fertilization process, the selection of the best quality embryos, preparation of the surrogate with medication and embryo transfer with or without a CGH/PGD process are all elements in ensuring the best chance of a successful pregnancy.
After the embryo transfer you will be given an approximate date for a pregnancy test (blood) – normally a 12 – 15 days later. This will involve multiple blood tests over a number of days. If this test is positive then an ultrasound examination and blood test will be scheduled for about the embryo’s gestational age of 5 weeks. This ultrasound should show an embryonic sac, and perhaps an embryo, if the pregnancy is successful. If pregnant the surrogate mum will then have medical appointments normally every 2 weeks in the first trimester until an ultrasound is done at 12 weeks and the foetus is checked for development and a heartbeat.
In the second trimester the surrogate mum will have medical appointments every 3 weeks, approximately, during which she will have an ultrasound, blood and urine tests and physical examination.
In the final weeks the doctor will make a decision as to the delivery date and method, the IPs will be advised immediately if there is a confirmed date for any induced labour or caesarean delivery.
Throughout the pregnancy a social worker/counsellor/nurse will meet with the surrogate weekly, sometimes at her residence, to ensure there are no issues in terms of her lifestyle, environment and psychological wellbeing.
It is recommended that the IPs arrive in country a week before the estimated delivery date so that they can immediately take care of their child in the hospital when it is born. However, pregnancies rarely go according to the doctor’s schedule so the hospitals and clinics have procedures in place so that the child can be cared for in the nursery or by clinic staff until the parents arrive. The child will not be passed to the surrogate mum at any time unless it is a visit authorized by and in the company of the IPs’.